Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Hiatus Ends

I can't believe I have neglected to a) write anything or b) read anything in the blogosphere. That's gotta come to a screeching halt. I vow to write more often if for no other reason than it keeps my hands too busy to stuff food into my face. I have to lose at least 10 pounds (preferably 20) in order to fit into my jeans without the undesirable "muffin top" effect.

I'm wearing my "fat pants" lately and they are getting way too tight. I remember, at the start of this clinical trial 15 months ago, I purchased 2 new pairs of pants and they were too big. I hate trying things on in the store, but I also hate taking stuff back. I must have known this day size was coming... those 2 pairs of pants are all that stands between me and wearing my bathrobe 24/7.

I asked about the possibility of weight gain being a side effect of Fingolimod once and my trial nurse sort of laughed at me. She thinks it's more a side effect of my quitting smoking and not quitting putting my hand to my face. Maybe a carrot stick instead of a heaping spoonful of pumpkin pie with Cool Whip might help.

But the pie was on sale. I checked the carrot sticks, honest, but they're still full price. Pie and Cool Whip were BOTH marked down.

I never could understand, back when I was a smoker, how people couldn't realize they were gaining weight and just DO something about it before it got out of hand. I had heard horror stories of how people quit smoking only to balloon up. And I would think to myself "well, duh! Step away from the fork!"

But I never knew how good stuff tasted when I was a smoker. It was like I had a nicotine blanket on my tongue that kept me from reveling in the bursts of flavor, the incredible richness, the soft, subtle hints of citrus...and that was just my chewable vitamin.

I'm a total slave to flavor now. Nicotine no longer rules my life...Dove Chocolate does.

But how do you go cold turkey on food? (mmmmm cold turkey. be right back.)

Anyhow, as I was saying, how can you quit food? You HAVE to eat, otherwise you die. It's not at all like quitting smoking. When I did that, I just put them down, curled up in an achey miserable ball for 3 days and emerged from my self-induced nicotine withdrawals as a person who will forever be a smoker deep inside, but who will never take another drag as long as I am living. I have quit smoking before and started back up again I know that the key to staying a non-smoker is to practice the "non" part more than the "smoker" part.

With cigarettes I didn't have to wander the aisles of the tobacco store choosing from less satisfying brands that were better choices for me. With food, I struggle with ever single item that I pick off the shelf. I debate silently in my head (because I don't have a Blue Tooth headset so people would think I was crazy if I argued with myself out loud) about if this item is a) a healthy choice b) a nutritional vs. comfort choice c) worth the money I'm blowing on it...etc. (I could go through a whole alphabet of choices I argue with myself but you get my point).

I've never in my life experienced guilt associated with food...until now. When I get up at 3 am and can't get back to sleep and find myself standing in front of the fridge I wonder if the rest of the family can here me and knows what I'm up to.

And it's not even like I'm that much overweight. I spent my teenage years being painfully thin, never hitting 100 lbs. until I had my oldest boy at 21. Then I stayed between 100 and 110 for the next 20something years.

When I had my second boy at 38 I went through a period of time when I had trouble losing the "baby fat" and when I asked my GYN about how hard it was to shed the extra pounds, his only response was to give me a wry smile and say "you aren't 21 any more." Gee thanks, I'm fat AND I'm old. And what do I owe you for pointing that out?

But now I've hit a new record for me. No longer having the crutch of nicotine to quiet hunger pangs, I give in to them instead. Without the possibility of pregnancy to explain away the extra pounds, I'm now hovering at 130. When I went to the doctor last week and stepped on the scale (admittedly, fully clothed with some apparently super heavy sneakers on) that was when I was faced with the new number with which I now wrestle.

And it's not just about the pants vs the pumpkin pie. Oh, that it were that simple.

It's about self-image vs everything I eat. It's about seeing a 10 lb sack of potatoes and visualizing 2 of them hanging around my waist. It's about my knees not enjoying the new me. 20 pounds can tire a person out more.

So, here I sit at nearly 6am, in my bathrobe because that's acceptable at this time of day, wondering when it will be alright to eat breakfast and swearing that this is going to be the day I put down the fork and liberate myself from the prison of my refrigerator, and swear off eating as a hobby and only do it for necessity.

But it's wrong to let food go to waist waste, and there's 3/4 of a pie in there that nobody's going to eat if I don't.

To all the overweight people out there, please accept my humble apologies as a formerly model-thin woman. I now KNOW what it means to struggle with food. And it's NOT an easy thing to get control of.

If anyone has any secrets for miracle weight loss (other than all those nice people whose emails end up in my spam folder for some reason) please, by all means, do share. Of course, if you DID have a secret and you shared it, I'm sure you'd make millions, so that means nobody has any miracles or I'd find it on the shelf at Walgreens.

Hey! All this random typing has kept me from eating for over half an hour. Maybe there's something to this?

I googled this:

I'll drink slightly less than half a Starbuck's Latte to that!

Sorry for all the whiny ramblings after such a long hiatus, but I do tend to blog what's on my mind and now that I got that off my chest, I can get on with the more important posts... like sharing pictures from our Cub Scout trip to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, FL.

I've been meaning to get to that for 2 weeks now, sorry.

Oh, and I've not had an MS attack in nearly 20 MONTHS!!! December 4 will be 20 months. I'm so freaking happy I'm doing the Snoopy dance.

Nice to talk about MS as an afterthought. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

See Tracy?

I told you it was "branno".

A big warm welcome to the funny lady over at Living Life With Sarcasm, Kids, and MS because MS without sarcasm is like a day without sunshine.

Just another checkup

Wow! I can't believe how the last 2 weeks have just flown by. I don't even know what I've been doing lately. Heck, I have such issues with short term memory loss that I can forget what movie I'm watching when the show goes to commercial. Kinda scary.

I neglected to mention this at my appointment yesterday because, well, I FORGOT.

It was a 2 hour drive to Jacksonville only to have blood drawn, pee in a cup, and have my vitals taken. Then a 2 hour return trip. I was told it was to be the shortest of all my visits. Next month I'll have the dreaded eye exam and the PFT along with the EDSS and EKG. And, in keeping with the theme of all that, I think I'll take some alphabet soup with me to have for lunch that day.

Anyway, at the checkup I found out that I'd lost 2 pounds (Squeeeee!!!) right after she noticed the scale wasn't set right and cranked the knob back 2 lbs. (I'm claiming the weight loss regardless).

I also found out that my HR was 72 and my BP was 104/68. I left there feeling pretty good about myself -- like I passed some kind of test with great marks even tho the scores were beyond my control.

What made me feel even more like a winner might have been the fact that I was awarded a *prize*. The nurse came in and presented me with a black sling style backpack with the TRANSFORMS logo on it. (transforms is the acronym for the particular trial I'm in.)

I found the logo quite cute as, at first, I thought the "O" had the man in the moon on it. Upon closer inspection I could see it was a person in profile and a hand tossing a pill into their open mouth. Novartis seems to be really banking on the attraction of this med being in pill form. I guess it's not too hard to imagine that a bunch of people sentenced to stick themselves with needles the rest of their lives might dream of one day taking a pill instead.

Anyway, inside the pack was a water bottle with the logo on it and a pair of headphones.

The headphones were an enigma (better than being an enema I suppose) due to not having anything to listen to. I didn't want to question it, tho, because after all it was a gift.

But, my smart-assedness got the better of me and I couldn't resist.

"Oh nurse?" I yelled down the hall.

"yes?" she looked back quizzically.

"The iPod fell out of my bag you gave me."

After having undergone a year of my smart-assedness, she knew right away I was joking.

"Actually, they aren't giving away iPods with those bags."

"I know, I was just joking."

"They're giving DVD players, but they haven't arrived yet."

Now it was my turn to wonder if she was joking. A quick scan of her facial expression coupled with my past experience of her use of humor told me that I was indeed going to be getting a DVD player.

"Cool! You know I was only joking about the iPod. I never expected they'd give out DVD players!"

"Yep. They should be coming any day now. We'll have one for you on your next appointment."

So, what I at first thought was cool started to upset me. I mean, if they can go giving a couple thousand people DVD players for being guinea pigs, it can only mean one of two things. They are about to tell us we are all going to die from some heretofore unknown irreversible side effect, or they are going to charge out the nose for Fingolimod when it hits the market.

Maybe they'll have to call the pill "Mykidscollegefund" or "InLeiuOfMortgageThisMonth" or something fancy like that.

I did say that it would have been better to give these out on Randomization Day so that we'd have something to do during that 6 hr. observation stay.

She said "actually, there is a trial that's still recruiting, so some participants ARE getting these for Randomization Day."

She couldn't have given me any better news. By telling me they are still recruiting, she basically just told me that I'm going to be getting my meds for free for a while.

I don't have to start paying until the trials are all over and the FDA approves it.

By that time, maybe I can find someone to buy the DVD player so I can get a day's worth of meds. I better keep it New-In-Box.